Wits alumni to assist students to study for exams

Wits alumni say they will be on campus from today to help students study and offer tutoring sessions.

A Wits University student sits and studies inside Senate House on campus where a sit-in took place over a proposed 10,5 % tuition increase for the 2016 year. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University alumni say they will be on the university campus this weekend to help students prepare for their upcoming exams - set to begin in less than a week's time.

The nationwide #FeesMust Fall campaign began with Wits students calling for an end to the 10.5 percent fee increase last week.

Students staged sit-ins and marches demanding that management concede to their demands.

Students have missed a week and a half of academic hours for the Fees Must Fall campaign.

But Wits alumni say they will be on campus from today to help students study and offer tutoring sessions.

Post graduate student Katleho Mokhosi says, "The extra lessons will carry on throughout the weekend and we meet today at 12 midday and we meet tomorrow Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon, and people have given times that they will be available."

Meanwhile, the SRC will be meeting with university management in the next hour to discuss how best to move the academic program forward, including the exam timetable.

ANC Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte says the students should be proud that their protest prompted reaction from President Jacob Zuma.

"It has brought the issue on the table not just brought it there to stay there but brought a reaction from the president firstly setting a moratorium for 2016 and setting up a task team that looks at how to tackle all the issues that the students raised."

Meanwhile, in the Western Cape traffic authorities are predicting a quiet weekend on the roads following this week's student protests.

There have been no reports of any fatalities on the roads since the start of the weekend but they have already issued fines close to three hundred thousand rand.

Traffic chief, Kenny Africa says law enforcement agencies will continue to monitor the roads this pay-day weekend.

At the same time, Stellenbosch University students have vowed to support students at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) who are expected to continue protesting today.

On Friday, police fired rubber bullets at UWC students attempting to march to Cape Town International Airport.

At Stellenbosch University, two students were detained for protesting but they were released within an hour.

President Jacob Zuma's main announcement was the zero percent fee increase but he says government will be investigating a host of other concerns raised at the meeting.

"This include free education, institutional autonomy, racism and accommodation and what the students call black debt, to mention a few."

The president said a task team will be responsible for looking into these matters.

While Zuma made the announcement to the nation via a live broadcast, the students clashed with the police before their leaders could announce the outcome of the meeting.

Running battles broke out between protesters and police in the streets around the Union Buildings following the mass march against university fee hikes.

They told EWN they went there to stage a sit-in on the road leading to the airport to get the government to address their demands.

Open Stellenbosch's Simone Cupido says they are done protesting for now as they have reached an agreement with university management.

Vice-chancellor Wim de Villiers has signed an agreement with student leaders, agreeing to several of their demands, including dropping a court interdict against student protests.

However Cupido says they are ready to join UWC students in protest.

"It depends completely on what the situation with UWC is because they're currently in a very volatile situation and we're ready to help them as much as we can."

Cupido adds they are hoping management sticks to promises made amid protests.

POLITICAL PARTIES WEIGHED IN

Political parties have weighed in on the #FeesHaveFallen Campaign, with some calling it a victory for students and others demanding government provide more funding at tertiary level.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has lashed out at President Zuma for not addressing students, gathered outside the Union Buildings, describing his decision as arrogant.

The EFF spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, said he should have spoken directly to the thousands who were waiting to hear from him.

"We'd like to express regret that president Zuma gave the students their victory through addressing the media instead of addressing them when they were right at least of that."

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said the freeze of fee increases provides short-term relief but systemic funding shortages and subsidy cuts from government have not been addressed.

The party's spokesperson, Mabine Seabe said, "We need long-term measure that will ensure that this is funded. Yesterday the DA leader tabled a couple of ideas where we can shift funding from, say VIP protection unit."